The following is a guest post is written by my good friend – and mother of two; Kate (6 months) and Toby (6 years) – Maria Green.
Today – September 16 – marks Working Parents Day; an annual event which recognises the great efforts of mums and dads everywhere that are in employment, despite having a little one (or two) to run around after.
Juggling a family and work can be difficult for anyone, but I would argue it is particularly hard for mothers who work from home. More often than not, male breadwinners work away from the home environment but many mummies – like me – operate home businesses in order to add to the household income, without being too far away from the baby, or the cooker and washing machine (ah, the curse of traditional gender roles!)
I have my own cake making business. I make good use of the internet to promote my services, and regularly use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to find new clients. However, due to my housewife-commitments, I do not get to conduct as much offline promotion as I would like. Over the years though, I have adopted a number of leaflet-distribution methods for ensuring awareness of my business in the offline world.
If you are a home-business mum, the following tips might help you to promote your own business offline, without having to hire extra hands…
#1: Target OAP Community Centres
This might seem like an obvious tip but in my experience, these days many local business promoters forget about advertising within community centres. I never originally considered the older folk that spend much time at these establishments to be the primary target consumers for my business, but figured “Why not?” one day when I was passing one during a school-run. It turns out this demographic has much disposable income – not to mention and impressive number of cake-eating family members and grandchildren!
Leaving the house during the day can be difficult for me at times, since doing so can interfere with my 6 month-old daughter’s routine and cause her to incessantly howl as a result. However, once a month I do get in my car and visit nine local (and wider-local) community centres with Kate in tow. Making this effort to top up the pile of flyers in each centre and promote my latest discounts/offers has proved very fruitful. My driving route between these centres is planned carefully, so that I can visit all nine in less than two hours.
Even better; I have secured myself an excellent reputation for my cakes, as a result of volunteering to bake without charge for charitable events held at these centres. Leaving a handful of my business leaflets or cards on the table next to my cupcakes, Chelsea buns and Victoria sponges has seen me secure additional business, which I may have otherwise missed out on.
#2: Never Doubt the Power of School
Many would consider the task of dropping off and picking up my son Toby from primary school each day a chore, but I have long considered the task a business opportunity!
Toby’s best friend celebrated his 6th birthday last year, and so I whipped up a batch of very attractive cupcakes in celebration. The school isn’t allowed to give its students sweets without the permission of parents, and I decided to use this to my advantage. I boxed each cake individually and every child was given one to take home with them at the end of the school day (if mum and/or dad said it was OK). Each box also contained one of my glossy business cards, so the parents would know exactly where the beautiful, edible-glitter decorated treat had come from. It was not long until I started receiving catering requests for the other kids’ birthday parties!
I have also baked a number of cakes free of charge for several money-raising events held by the school and this has helped to spread word about my culinary services and skills.
#3: Make Use of Flyering Friends
Not every home-business mum will have friends that deliver local newspapers or product catalogues locally, but if you do this can prove to be very useful for your own promotion.
When I heard that my sister’s son had secured himself a paper round, I asked him if he would mind dropping one of my leaflets through each letterbox when completing his round. He kindly agreed, as did my friend Sarah; an Avon representative.
You’d be surprised how many cake requests I get as people read the headlines or pick themselves out a new lipstick! I do limit this method to one day in each month only though – I don’t want to bombard people or receive any complaints!
#4: Always Have Promotional Materials to Hand
Again, this might seem like an obvious tip. However, I cannot count the number of times I have found myself in a situation which presents an opportunity to promote my services, only to have no leaflets or business cards on my person.
In these situations, I have recited the digits of my telephone number which have then been scrawled down or saved on the potential-customer’s mobile phone. I much prefer the professional image that handing over an expertly designed flyer or business card gives. As such, I try to make a habit of keeping some promotional materials in the glove box of my car – and in my handbag – at all times.
If you are seeking a professional flyer printing service to aid your business promotion, Maria Green – the author of this post – recommends you visit http://www.solopress.com/leaflet-printing/